OzTAM, the official ratings ‘umpire’, has released its final reports for the calendar year 2016. The reports include consolidated audience figures for the Top 20 programs (including those various reality show ‘winner announced’ segments that …
In his book Compulsive Viewing, Gerald Stone wrote that Australian television “started first in Sydney, but best in Melbourne.” He was no doubt referring to GTV9, which actually considered itself the underdog when it was …
The opening night of ABC‘s Melbourne station ABV2 went ahead without anywhere near the problems encountered by its Sydney sister two weeks earlier. The station was officially opened by Minister for Labour and National Service …
Melbourne’s first television station had its beginning in April 1955, when newspaper publisher The Herald And Weekly Times (HWT) was successful in gaining a licence to operate one of two commercial licences available for Melbourne. By …
After decades of experiments and government investigation, television was finally to come to fruition in 1956. The government had determined that television shall take the form of a two-tier system, similar to radio, where there …
Concluding this week’s countdown of the top 60 shows from Australian television over 60 years. See also Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV and Part V. 10. Neighbours (Seven/Ten/Eleven, 1985-) Neighbours was set to be one of Australia’s …
Australian television is 60 years old this week. It was on the night on 16 September 1956 that Bruce Gyngell (pictured) declared “Good evening, and welcome to television” to an estimated viewing audience of around 100,000 …
Fifty years ago, viewers in Cairns and the Far North Queensland region were witness to the launch of Australia’s 40th commercial television station — FNQ10. Dubbed “the Top of the Nation Station”, FNQ10 made its …
The ABC special Big Ted’s Excellent Adventure: 50 Years Of Play School takes a look back at Australia’s longest running children’s show. Hosted by Nova FM‘s Kate Ritchie, the program features rare footage from the …
The Mildura district in north west Victoria was the last in the state to receive television. Like most other regional areas in the heavily populated eastern states, Mildura was to have two television stations — a national service …
Forty years ago today, the bomb went off at Number 96 — presenting one of the defining and most oft-remembered moments of Australian television drama. By 1975, after three years captivating audiences and astounding critics, Number …
Australia’s domestic communication networks entered the space age 30 years ago today, with the launch of the Aussat satellite. The concept of a domestic satellite was first raised in 1977 with a proposal from Kerry Packer‘s …
These program listings are only as published prior to the air dates — they do not account for last minute schedule changes made before going to air VICTORIA Sunday 4 November 1956 – MELBOURNE Official Opening …
Bob Horsfall, an entertainer from the early days of Australian television, has died at the age of 90.
From a career that began as a child performer at the Tivoli Theatre in the 1930s, Horsfall went in to radio — working at stations including 3KZ, 3AW, 3UZ and 2UE.
He later made the transition to television, initially appearing in early variety shows like In Melbourne Tonight, BP Super Show, The Happy Show, Sunnyside Up and Time For Terry. He also co-hosted a weekly variety show, Take It Easy, with Joy Fountain.
Horsfall also appeared in numerous TV dramas. His list of credits included Bellbird, Division 4, Homicide, Tandarra, Matlock Police, Skyways, Young Ramsay, Prisoner, The Magistrate, The Flying Doctors, Blue Heelers and Neighbours.
In more recent years, he continued to be involved in radio as a presenter on Melbourne community radio station Golden Days Radio.
Anne Deveson, journalist, broadcaster and writer, has died at the age of 86 from Alzheimer’s disease.
Deveson, born in Malaya, started her career at the Kensington News in London. This was followed by hosting a BBC radio program and scripting a TV documentary on Albania.
After migrating to Australia with husband, ABC broadcaster Ellis Blain, she scored some minor work at ABC, doing things like writing recipes for Woman’s World. A chance meeting with producer Peter Westerway saw Deveson end up working on ATN7‘s Seven Days current affairs program and University Of The Air.
Caroline Jones, the presenter of ABC‘s award-winning documentary series Australian Story, has announced she will be stepping down from the role.
Jones, whose association with ABC dates back over 50 years, has been presenter of Australian Story since it began in May 1996.
In a statement issued by ABC, Jones said:
“This is not an easy decision for me. The ABC is in my DNA. So is Australian Story, and that will not change.”
“It’s been a joy and a privilege to have 20-plus years with the program, with the fine team who produce it, and with the generous Australians who tell us their stories, giving profound insights into the complexity of our human condition in a speedily evolving world.
“I’m far too busy to retire, but now there are some other loyalties claiming my attention, and I move on to the next phase of my life with gratitude. There’s always another adventure ahead.
“And I’ll continue to be number one Australian Story fan, along with the rest of the country.”
Jones first joined the ABC in 1963 as an announcer for ABC3 in Canberra and host of magazine program Canberra Week. She joined current affairs program This Day Tonight in 1967 as a Canberra reporter before moving to Sydney.
One of her last assignments for This Day Tonight was a two-part report on poverty. The special report earned Jones a TV Week Logie Award for Outstanding Contribution To TV Journalism.
She left This Day Tonight at the end of 1972 and became the first female host of Four Corners, a role she held for almost a decade.
Jones also presented morning radio for ABC in Sydney and for eight years hosted the Radio National program The Search For Meaning.
ABC has announced that there will be no replacement host for Australian Story.
Wentworth, Rake, The Kettering Incident and Molly were among the winners in the television categories of the 6th AACTA Awards.
The awards were held at The Star Event Centre in Sydney Wednesday night and telecast on the Seven Network.
Wentworth won two awards, including the AACTA Award For Best Television Drama Series. ABC‘s Rake also collected two awards, and Foxtel‘s The Kettering Incident scored three — including Elizabeth Debicki for Best Lead Actress In A Television Drama.
Seven’s mini-series Molly picked up two awards, including Samuel Johnson for Best Lead Actor In A Television Drama for playing the title role of Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum.
Collecting the night’s highest award — the AACTA Longford Lyell Award for lifetime achievement — was Paul Hogan (pictured), whose career in the entertainment industry began as a contestant on New Faces in the early 1970s and peaked with the international success of the Crocodile Dundee movies in the 1980s.
Hogan’s television career went from social commentator for the original A Current Affair to the popular sketch comedy series The Paul Hogan Show, initially on the Seven Network and then on Nine. He collected a TV Week Logie Award in 1973 for Best New Talent.
He played a dramatic role in the Nine Network mini-series Anzacs and was inducted into the TV Week Logie Awards Hall Of Fame in 1987.
The AACTA Awards presentation was not a huge hit with viewers, however, with the telecast watched by only 416,000 viewers across the 5 major capital cities. With Seven News at 6pm leading the night’s ratings, Seven still claimed the night overall in both primary channel and network shares.
Television Award Winners:
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST TELEVISION DRAMA SERIES
• WENTWORTH Pino Amenta ADG, Jo Porter S.P.A – Foxtel/SoHo
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST TELEFEATURE OR MINI SERIES
• THE KETTERING INCIDENT Vincent Sheehan, Victoria Madden, Andrew Walker – Foxtel/Showcase
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST TELEVISION COMEDY SERIES
• UPPER MIDDLE BOGAN Robyn Butler, Wayne Hope, Ben Grogan – ABC
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION SERIES
• GRUEN Wil Anderson, Polly Connolly, Nick Murray, Jon Casimir, Richard Huddleston – ABC
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST LIFESTYLE TELEVISION PROGRAM
• DESTINATION FLAVOUR SCANDINAVIA Erik Dwyer, Rachel Hardie – SBS
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST REALITY TELEVISION SERIES
• MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA Marty Benson, Tim Toni, Rob Wallace – Network Ten
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A TELEVISION DRAMA
• Samuel JohnsonMOLLY – Seven Network
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST LEAD ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION DRAMA
• Elizabeth DebickiTHE KETTERING INCIDENT – Foxtel/Showcase
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST PERFORMANCE IN A TELEVISION COMEDY
• Patrick BrammallNO ACTIVITY – Stan
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST GUEST OR SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A TELEVISION DRAMA
• Damon HerrimanSECRET CITY Episode 1 – A Donation to the Struggle – Foxtel/Showcase
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST GUEST OR SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION DRAMA
• Celia PacquolaTHE BEAUTIFUL LIE Episode 3 – ABC
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTION IN A TELEVISION DRAMA OR COMEDY
• RAKE Episode 8 Peter Duncan ADG – ABC
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTION IN A TELEVISION LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT, LIFESTYLE OR REALITY SERIES
• THE RECRUIT Episode 2 Michael Venables – Foxtel/Fox8
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST SCREENPLAY IN TELEVISION
• ABC COMEDY SHOWROOM – THE LETDOWN Sarah Scheller, Alison Bell – ABC
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY IN TELEVISION
• WOLF CREEK Episode 3 – Salt Lake Geoffrey Hall ACS – Stan
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST EDITING IN TELEVISION
• WENTWORTH Episode 3 – Prisoner Ben Joss – Foxtel/SoHo
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST SOUND IN TELEVISION
• RAKE Episode 7 Guntis Sics ASSG, Michol Marsh, Peter Hall, Olivia Monteith – ABC
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST ORIGINAL MUSIC SCORE IN TELEVISION
• THE KETTERING INCIDENT Episode 1 Matteo Zingales, Max Lyandvert – Foxtel/Showcase
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN IN TELEVISION
• MARY: THE MAKING OF A PRINCESS Sam Rickard – Network Ten
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST COSTUME DESIGN IN TELEVISION
• MOLLY Part 1 Edie Kurzer – Seven Network
AACTA AWARD FOR BEST CHILDREN’S TELEVISION SERIES
• BEAT BUGS Josh Wakely, Jennifer Twiner McCarron – 7Two
On Monday, Network Ten in Perth commences operation from its new state of the art premises in the suburb of Subiaco.
The relocation marks the end of an era as Ten has been broadcasting from studios in Cottonwood Crescent, Dianella, since it first went to air in 1988.
The first program to air from NEW10 on Friday, 20 May 1988 was The Fast Lane, a half-hour opening preview of the new channel. This was followed by the national Olympic Telethon, a 26-hour effort to raise funds for Australia’s Olympic team heading to Seoul.
The opening night of Sydney’s second commercial channel ATN7 was under threat from not happening at all.
On Sunday, 2 December 1956, just hours before ATN was to make its official debut, a massive thunderstorm swept through Sydney. The weather brought power down across a number of suburbs — including Epping, where the new ATN “Television Centre” was based.
Not only was there no power for hours but rain managed to leak through the roof. Performers and musicians doing their rehearsals in the afternoon had to do so in front of car headlights being beamed into the studio.
The 200 VIPs making their way to the official opening function had arrived at Epping in torrential rain and had to make their way through mud tracks to get to the still incomplete building.
Power was finally to be restored to the studios barely an hour before airtime, which was just as well because the bulky studio cameras needed 45 minutes to warm up before they could be put to work.
The opening night’s broadcast began with a test pattern (pictured) at 7.00pm, then the official program commenced at 7.30pm. First up was a religious greeting before the national anthem leading in to the opening speeches. Among those to welcome the station to air included chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, Robert Osborne, and the state minister for labour, Abram Landa, attending on behalf of New South Wales Premier Joseph Cahill, who was unable to attend.
Postmaster-General Charles Davidson (pictured above right) then cut the ribbon stretched across the doors to Studio B in declaring the station open before yet another speech, this time by former Justice Allan Maxwell, chairman of ATN’s parent company, Amalgamated Television Services.
Then it was over to the night’s entertainment. Given the nature of the weather that afternoon it was perhaps ironic that the title of the channel’s opening gala was A Shower Of Stars.
The 75-minute variety special featured ATN7’s orchestra conducted by Denis Collinson with performances by American performers Joe “Fingers” Carr and Virginia Paris and local stars Bettina Welch, the Berkeleys and artists from the Phillip Street Theatre revue.
After the variety special was ATN7’s first movie presentation, Folly To Be Wise. The station’s first news bulletin, a 15-minute presentation including filmed highlights from the opening formalities earlier in the evening, closed the night’s programming.
By the end of the night, viewers had been greeted by some of ATN’s first on-air presenters, including Eric Baume, Keith Walshe, Del Cartwright and Harry Dearth, and station programming executive Len Mauger.
At its launch ATN promised around 37 hours of programming a week. Weekdays began with Your Home with Cartwright at 4.30pm, followed by 90 minutes of children’s program Captain Fortune from 5.00pm.
Imported series like The Cisco Kid, Superman, Steven Donovan Western Marshall and Wild Bill Hickok were the lead in to Australia’s first current affairs program, At Seven On 7 hosted by radio 2GB‘s Howard Craven.
There were more imported series at 7.30pm — shows like Victory At Sea, Burns And Allen, Susie and The Adventures Of Sir Lancelot — before ATN’s news at 8.00pm with Brian Wright. Eric Baume then presented a nightly 15-minute editorial, This I Believe, before another hour of imported fare.
Keith Walshe hosted Australia’s first ‘tonight’ show, Sydney Tonight, screening five nights a week at 9.30pm, before station closedown at 10.30pm.
Weekend programming started after 6.00pm and was similarly wrapped up by 10.30pm.
Over the next few months ATN would reveal a growing slate of Australian production — mostly adapted from existing radio programs: Bob Dyer‘s Pick A Box and It Pays To Be Funny, Jack Davey‘s Give It A Go, The Pressure Pak Show and The Dulux Show, Terry Dear‘s Leave It To The Girls, John Dease‘s Quiz Kids, and Harry Dearth and George Foster hosting Pantomime Quiz.
The new studios at Epping were considered the largest out of the six TV stations launching in Australia at that time. They were equipped with six Marconi Mark III cameras — worth £10,000 each. ATN’s Studio B measured 15 by 21 metres, and the later completed Studio A promised double the floor space again.
Lighting for one studio alone cost £17,000 and the station’s Outside Broadcast van, which included its own control room, cost £66,000.
The overall technical installation, including the transmission tower on Gore Hill, represented an investment of £500,000 by the station’s owners.
The launch of ATN7 marked the completion of the first stage of the introduction of television in Sydney — with TCN9and ABN2already in operation.
Over the next few years ATN would lead the industry with a number of ‘firsts’: the first Australian station to install a videotape machine; the first breakfast program, Today; the first serial drama, Autumn Affair; and was a partner with GTV9 in setting up ‘Operation Kangaroo‘, the first direct television link between Sydney and Melbourne.
The Epping studios would continue to host production for ATN for over 50 years before the site was demolished in 2010.
At the time of its launch in 1956, ATN7 had partnered with Melbourne’s GTV9 for sharing programs and for sales representation. When GTV9 was taken over by Frank Packer and aligned with TCN9 in Sydney a few years later, ATN7 set up a new affiliation with HSV7 in Melbourne — creating the Australian Television Network, now the Seven Network.
Seven in Sydney now has news production based at Martin Place in the CBD and utilises production facilities at the Australian Technology Park in the suburb of Eveleigh.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 15 October 1956, 2 December 1956, 3 December 1956, 20 October 1958. Those Fabulous TV Years, 1981. Forty Years Of Television: The Story Of ATN7, 1996. 50 Years Of Television In Australia, 2006.
For the tenth year in a row the Seven Network has claimed the ratings year (5 cities, 6pm-12mn).
For the weeks 7 to 48 — covering the period from 7 February to 26 November, and excluding the two weeks around Easter — Seven scored 30.2%, followed by Nine (26.7%), Ten (18.8%), ABC (17.6%) and SBS (6.8%).
Broken down to individual channels — Seven (20.7%) defeated Nine (18.3%), Ten (13.5%), ABC (12.6%), SBS (4.8%), 7TWO (4.0%), 9GO (3.9%), 7mate (3.7%), ABC2 (3.0%), One (2.8%), 9Gem and Eleven (2.5% each), 7flix and 9Life (2.0% each), ABC News 24 (1.3%), SBS2/Viceland (1.0%), SBS Food Network (0.9%), ABCME (0.6%) and NITV (0.2%).
(These figures are based on preliminary results and may vary slightly when delayed viewing for the last survey week is added but is unlikely to change the finishing order.)
Seven’s shares received a boost with coverage of the Olympic Games but even when those weeks are subtracted the network still came out in front.
Mini-series Molly (Episode 1: 2,216,000, Episode 2: 1,816,000) kicked off the ratings year for Seven. The network once again had major success with My Kitchen Rules (Winner Announced: 2,096,000 viewers). House Rules ended on a high (Winner Announced: 1,324,000) but The X Factor disappointed.
Dramas Wanted (1,243,000) and The Secret Daughter (1,030,000) delivered strong numbers, followed by 800 Words (984,000).
Seven’s sporting coverage delivered high numbers — with the AFL Grand Final (Presentation: 3,201,000, Match: 3,081,000) and The Melbourne Cup (The Race: 2,066,000) leading. The Australian Open, although technically outside the defined ratings period for the year, scored 1,634,000 for the Men’s Final.
The Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games (1,619,000) not surprisingly topped the Olympics numbers.
Nine’s year was topped by the first match in the NRL State Of Origin: NSW versus Queensland (2,735,000) and NRL Grand Final (2,670,000). The Grand Final of The Block (1,865,000) dipped below last year’s final, as did the final of The Voice (Winner Announced: 1,335,000).
Nine has claimed A Current Affair (832,000) to win the 7.00pm timeslot, followed by Home And Away (813,000), ABC News (771,000) and The Project (7PM: 596,000). Nine’s 60 Minutes, despite a challenging year, managed to average the year at 835,000, compared to Seven’s Sunday Night (771,000) — although both shows are down on 2015. Nine may have also creatively coded some late-timeslot 60 Minutes episodes separately, thereby not dragging down the yearly average for the standard early evening episodes.
Dramas Love Child (925,000) and Doctor Doctor (958,000) were solid performers.
For Network Ten, it was a year again led by MasterChef Australia (Winner Announced: 1,999,000) with The Bachelor Australia (The Final Decision: 1,399,000) and Australian Survivor (Winner Announced: 1,203,000) also highlights for the year.
The second series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here started on a high (1,373,000) but didn’t fare quite so well for the finale (Winner Announced: 1,122,000).
Bathurst 1000 (Podium: 1,387,000) topped Ten’s sporting slate, followed by Big Bash League (Final — Session 2: 1,309,000)
The long-awaited return of Offspring (921,000) and first-run mini-series Brock (Part 1: 1,002,000) didn’t perform perhaps as well as expected but gave solid results.
Although they didn’t match the high numbers of some of their Seven and Nine counterparts, Ten recorded decent results for shows like Have You Been Paying Attention? (829,000), Gogglebox (750,000), Shark Tank (626,000, the ARIA Awards (581,000) and The Living Room (557,000).
Neighbours scored a yearly average of 216,000 on Eleven, with its special one-hour episode back in April rating 302,000 viewers.
ABC’s year was topped by British series Doc Martin (1,157,000) and Australian drama The Doctor Blake Mysteries (1,146,000) — the latter scoring particularly well given its Friday night timeslot. The 2015 New Year’s Eve Fireworks, technically outside the 2016 ratings year, scored 1,427,000 viewers.
As of yesterday (Sunday) networks go into summer non-ratings mode, though viewing data is still collected by OzTAM and reported to networks over the non-ratings period.
The 2017 ratings year begins on 12 February and continues through to 2 December, with a two-week break over the Easter period.
Australians of a certain age will recall old TV dials having a channel number ‘5A’ — between Channels 5 and 6.
The extra channel, likewise channels 0 and 11, were added to Australian TV dials from 1961 as it was apparent that the previous 10-channel spectrum was not going to be enough to sustain a growing television industry.
Usage of the channel 5A frequency was restricted to country areas — mostly used by ABC, such as in Newcastle and Wollongong, but also for some low-powered translator stations for commercial broadcasters.
There was one commercial station that was allocated 5A for its main signal — Riverland Television Pty Ltd in South Australia — hence the call-sign RTS5A.
The company was informed by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board (ABCB) in August 1975 that it had been granted a licence to operate a commercial television service in the Riverland district, including towns Renmark, Loxton, Berri, Bermera and Waikerie. The station’s coverage was estimated to reach around 29,000 people — making it one of the smallest TV markets in Australia.
The region was already covered by national broadcaster ABC, which had launched ABRS3 in the area in 1971, and enthusiastic viewers may have attempted long distance reception from Adelaide or from STV8in north west Victoria. Ironically, STV8’s parent company Sunraysia Television Ltd was an unsuccessful applicant for the Riverland-based service, with the government instead opting to elect the company with 80 per cent ownership from within the Riverland district.
Construction of RTS5A’s studio and transmitter in Loxton was not started until October 1976, with the station planned to launch a month later. Installation of the station’s technical equipment was assisted by much of it being pre-assembled and tested in Melbourne ahead of being sent to Loxton.
Test transmission for RTS5A commenced on 25 November 1976 — just in time for the station’s official opening the next day!
Opening night commenced with a brief introduction to the station by Julie Blyth and John Harvey. At 6.05pm the movie The Great Race was the first program to air, followed by the official opening presentation for the station. The formalities included pre-recorded speeches by South Australian Premier Don Dunstan, ABCB chairman Myles Wright and Minister for Posts and Telecommunications, Eric Robertson, who declared the station open ahead of the address to viewers by RTS chairman Gilmore Taylor.
The night’s second movie was The Guns From Navarone.
RTS5A commenced with a schedule of around 4 hours a night, not commencing before 6.00pm. Within a few months of its launch RTS had commenced local production of a weekly women’s program and a sporting round-up. It was a couple more years before the channel launched a nightly local news service, which was combined with the 5-minute “classified ads” segment ahead of the relay of the national news from Adelaide. This bulletin was later expanded to 20 and then 30 minutes.
In the mid-1990s, RTS was taken over by neighbouring South Australian regional station SES8. RTS then adopted SES8’s program schedule but continued to produce a local news service and be identified on-air as “5A”.
By the end of the decade both SES8 and RTS5A were bought out by WIN Corporation, owner of WIN Television in New South Wales/ACT, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania. It was not long before RTS/SES adopted the WIN branding but continued to offer a mix of programming from all of the Seven, Nine and Ten networks.
To this day, WIN continues as the sole commercial TV broadcaster in the Riverland district. In 2003 the station launched a secondary service, WIN Ten, relaying Network Ten programming from Adelaide.
The advent of digital television has since seen RTS shift from Channel 5A to the UHF band. The station also established local relay broadcasts from all three commercial networks and most of their associated multi-channels.
The downside of one operator providing so many channels to a relatively small population is that the cost of providing local services such as news becomes prohibitive. By 2013 WIN had closed local news services from both SES and RTS.
The only local television news service available in the region is a nightly two-minute summary presented from WIN headquarters in Wollongong.
Source: Australian TV Archive (Wayback Machine). 13th Annual Report 1960-61, Australian Broadcasting and Control Board. 28th Annual Report 1975-76, Australian Broadcasting and Control Board. Annual Report 1976-77, Australian Broadcasting Tribunal. B&T Weekly, 2 December 1976.